Multiple Flood Rescues; Rains Raise Kinneret

YERUSHALAYIM -
A bus stuck in flood waters on the roadside near Kfar Baruch, northern Israel, Wednesday. (Anat Hermony/Flash90)

Several people were rescued in floods caused by heavy rains around the country Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday.

B’chasdei shamayim, no deaths or injuries were reported in any of the multiple life-threatening incidents.

Near Kfar Chassidim, emergency responders were answered a call for help involving an ATV that was submerged at an agricultural crossing late Wednesday afternoon.

Regional Director of United Hatzalah’s Carmel region, Naftali Rotenberg said: “United Hatzalah volunteers are working together firefighters and municipal rescue teams in order to rescue the trapped people from the ATV who have taken refuge on the roof of the vehicle.”

“At this time there is no immediate danger to their lives, but our teams are standing by to provide medical care should it be necessary,” he told Arutz Sheva.

Earlier in the storm, a man was rescued from his flooded apartment near Ramat HaSharon, and three people were rescued from their flooded apartments in Herzliya, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Two people were rescued from their car near Hadera after rising flood waters trapped them inside.

Overnight in Holon, emergency services were sent to rescue multiple people trapped in flooded basements.

Also on Wednesday, a group of six hikers was trapped at the scene of a flash flood at Mezad Zurim hill in southern Israel after heavy rains flooded the area in a short time. Rescue teams were dispatched to the scene and pulled them out to safety.

Amid the hazardous conditions, hiking trails were closed in southern Israel according to Israel’s National Parks Authority. The trails at Nahal Prat, Nahal Darga, Nahal Tekoa and Nahal Og will be closed, as well as abseiling routes in the Judean Desert and various hiking paths around the country.

The Kinneret rose three centimeters overnight to 209.935 meters below sea level as of 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Israel Water Authority reported.

The lake is now 1.135 meters from its maximum level of 208.80 meters below sea level.

The Kinneret began the winter at its highest level for years, after well above average rainfall over the past two winters. The lake began last winter at 212 meters below sea level, not far above the minimum level of 213 meters below sea level, and at one point in late April came within 12 centimeters of being full.

Experts at the Israel Water Authority expect it will be necessary to open the Deganya dam at the southern end of the Kinneret to prevent flooding, and allow water to flow down the southern section of the River Jordan to the Dead Sea. This would mark the first time that the dam had to be opened since 1992.

The Israel Meteorological Service says that the rain will continue until Thursday morning, with cold and partly cloudy weather to follow.